Easter Baskets Confound Me

Contributor Chrystal

You can refer to so many posts on this page that share that “The Manual of The Mother Church” specifically states that we can have no special celebration for Easter.

I got to thinking about this last week. The religion proclaims to be Christian. And most Christians think that God gave us his “only begotten son.” And at some point along Christ Jesus’s journey, he died, laid in the tomb about 3 days, and then arose from the dead. This is a true miracle of a story. Christianity created a holiday from the Pagan tradition of Ostara, and named it Easter, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. 

And yet, Mary Baker Eddy said so clearly in “The Manual of The Mother Church” not to celebrate it. 

My new journey and studies have taught me about narcissists. Eddy was clearly a narcissistic. My thoughts took me to the clear realization recently that she didn’t want any special days of devotion to Jesus; because she wanted every day to be about her. Continuing to think about this a bit more, I remember the Weekly Bible Lesson. Where we read the imperfect Holy Bible, and then have her to interpret it to us with her book, “Science and Health.” She gets the last word in. Every day, for every Christian Scientist.

I was once yelled at for daring to find a daycare center for the children of our Sunday School to have an Easter Egg hunt. It is so ingrained in the Christian Science mind set that we do NOT celebrate Easter. 

Well, I am now decidedly OUT of the Christian Science mindset and church. 

I got together for lunch a month or two ago with some Quaker girlfriends. One of them started talking about Easter baskets. It was clear that such a thing brings her so much joy. She has grown children, and she still makes baskets for herself and for her husband. I told her I have never in my life received an Easter basket.

Unphased, she told me to make my own. I have gone to the store in subsequent weeks, to pick up bread and basics. I see the Easter basket aisles at the store, and I just stand there and stare at the stuff on the shelf. None of it is appealing to me. Well, except maybe the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I don’t care how those are wrapped, I like them. 

I had to spend some time pondering what on earth I would want in my own Easter basket. Perhaps it’s not a stuffed animal bunny toy, or candy, or chocolate or PEZ dispensers. Or whatever else I have seen at the store. I wondered if I wanted candles or spa gift cards or shampoo or soap. Did I want a pair of fuzzy socks? 

I have looked and looked at these items in the store. So many times over the week, and I just stare at it and it looks like junk to me. I don’t want a candle. I have candles. I don’t want fuzzy socks. I have fuzzy socks. I don’t need a new electronic device. I went to the spa to get my hair cut, so I am good with that. There is nothing that I want. 

I was walking out of a major retailer yesterday, and saw yet another display devoted to Easter, of things they sell at the store. Easter lillies, Orchids and freshly cut flowers. They were beautiful – at least they weren’t junk. I stood there, took some photos of them, and enjoyed their beauty in the store. And I just know – I have plants and a beautiful orchid at home. I don’t need these plants in my Easter basket either. 

It is interesting to me that this entire “tradition” of Easter is so devoted now to a culture of consumerism and spending money and junk that hurts the planet. Isn’t Easter supposed to be a time when the Earth is waking up, the way Jesus woke up from the tomb? Shouldn’t we be planting new things to enjoy for years to come — like native shade trees — instead of conusming the world’s resources — how much water and gasoline and deforestation and slave labor and shipping went in to making that toy or candy at the store, to sell it for $5 or less and become junk in some child’s room, so they have no room to dance or play with their imagination? Do we really need all this junk that surrounds us? Is that what Easter baskets are about?

These are the things I ponder as a Quaker who now thinks about the Quaker Testimonies – the SPICES:

  • S – Simplicity
  • P – Peace
  • I – Integrity
  • C – Community
  • E – Equality
  • S – Sustainability

Sustainability in my new Quaker Faith reminds me to think of George Fox saying to William Penn about his sword: “Use it as long as you can.

It reminds me not to acquire simply for the sake of acquiring. It reminds me to think and act responsibly in regards to my own consumerism. I recently learned the word “Resumerism,” which makes us think about “Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle.” Resumerism. 

May all have a delightful Sunday and all future days. 

Nothing, I believe, can really teach us the nature and meaning of inspiration but personal experience of it. That we may all have such experience if we will but attend to the divine influences in our own hearts …~ Caroline Stephen

9 Replies to “Easter Baskets Confound Me”

  1. In our CS “forum” which was a young person’s CS group, we had Easter Egg hunts in a member’s garden which we were told Americans did….it being important in UK to maintain that American link! It is interesting to me just how many interpretations of CS there were! We definitely did not enter into religious discussions or teachings about Easter.

  2. Wow, never ceases to amaze me how different people’s experience was inside the church from branch to branch.

    This has been profoundly difficult in my own coming to terms with the abuse I went through because when I share with people who were/are still involved the response is nearly always, ‘Well that never happened in MY church’.

    Over and over again I’ve heard so many people share their crazy stories of CS that’s unique to their branch/family/practitioner

    For example, at my church Easter was a Big Deal. People always wore new outfits and near formal wear on Easter. Easter dinner was a huge affair and we always had Easter egg hunts in our family.

    Of course we also had incest, beatings, mental illness, alcoholism, elder abuse, child abuse and all manner of fraud and financial crimes, so I’m not bragging.

    Also Easter at Principia was a big deal too.

    I wonder if other people have noticed how different CS church culture is location to location? Seems like the closer to Boston the more extremist and fundamentalist it gets with St Louis being the exception to that rule.

    Anyone notice this?

    1. I find some matching on your Boston ->outward perspective. I grew up in upstate NY (capital District), 5th generation CS while also having a parent that fell out while another joined in. Crazy times, with some members of the extended family going full medical/alcohol/tobacco while our face to the church was the appearance of strict obedience and no discussion of quite a bit, as seemed to be true for the entire area. It was interesting to learn of my grand father being booted (I’m sure it was gently encouraged to change habits) from the church due to smoking, when he had also been a first reader. The women carried the torch and we had 4 generations attending at the same time. I then attended Principia where I found drastically different perspectives on most everything. Years later my first born, who I’d placed for adoption with a CS family attended Prin also, when getting to know her as an adult I met other CS families that had very different perspectives. I’ve practiced in Elsah, upstate NY, Metro Detroit and SF bay area. The drastic differences from person to person/branch to branch is bizarre. I knew a family in CA that had filth in their home to the point most would be disgusted, the family was revered in the community. I guessed that others didn’t know what life was like for them at home, now I wonder what the rest were like. I’ve had adult conversations with Prin friends that have been fascinating. I can’t see branding yourself as CS and not going all the way with it, but I’ve known people that seem to follow medicine more than CS and consider that normal CS. On the flip side we’ve all heard of people that thought it more appropriate to allow their child to die than to acknowledge they were failing with prayer.

  3. We always celebrated Easter with new clothes, Easter eggs, baskets and big family dinners. I am amazed that this wasn’t everyone’s experience in CS. Guess I was one of the lucky ones from what a lot of you experienced. I love Easter because it is spring and this year coincided with my 39th anniversary of marriage. I did what I love, worked out in my yard and separated perennials to plant later or share with friends. Happy Easter everyone!

  4. Thank you all for your feedback. I know I grew up in a strict CS household. You can read my story by searching for Chrystal’s Story on this blog. I was taught we had to be super strict with Christian Science (which is neither “Christian” nor “Science”), or else we wouldn’t be able to heal.

    The idea of having an Easter basket and other such things (like a new dress) struck us as blasphemy. Ugh.

    I am so grateful to be out of that horrible, debilitating belief system.

    1. There are different branches of Quakers, since their founding in the middle 1600’s.

      Originally, Quakers did not celebrate Christmas, Easter or any other designated “Holy Days” with outward observances. The founder, George Fox, inspired Quakers to turn away from materialism and ritual, believing they were distractions and barriers to experiencing the presence of God.

      Now in different branches there are various amounts of ritual and outer observance.

      1. Patty, I am new to the site; but I just wanted to share that I also attended Quaker meetings after leaving the Christian Science church. It was a time of great healing for me.

  5. On the question of why wouldn’t CS people celebrate Easter, the answer is that we are expected to celebrate it every day. It represents the reason for all of Christianity existing, it should be celebrated every day by all Christians. Most don’t think that’s a good enough reason to not have a special focused time on it though.

    As a kid we had fresh clothes and a big family dinner, plus some family members that didn’t regularly attend would go to services that Sunday. Most of that was cultural as I grew up in a very catholic city in NYS. Other kids in SS also wore new clothes to church that morning and many participated in community ‘Easter’ events that have little to do with the religious events that were under celebration. We behaved a little differently but no one articulated it. Hymns selected might have reflected the day, but it wasn’t part of the service. We always had Easter baskets, in part because Mom was raised half Catholic half Episcopal, it was what she and her parents expected of life. Dad was raised CS and expected all of us at church on Easter, but he couldn’t articulate a thing about the religion by the time I had any questions. A ton of my childhood religiously was about meeting the grands expectation. Mom’s mom was likely disgusted that we weren’t either Episcopal or Catholic, while Dad’s mom would likely freak about us being exposed to ‘Papists’. Thankfully as the youngest I missed any and all drama as they’d agreed to disagree by the time I was aware.

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